Monarch Airlines and Friedrichshafen Airport re-commence Ski routes to the Alps for winter 2013/14

Monarch Airlines will be re-starting its winter ski routes to Friedrichshafen Airport in Southern Germany this winter. Friedrichshafen is fast becoming the ski airport of choice for discerning travellers looking for a reliable and easy transfer to the best ski resorts in the Alps.

Kevin George, Managing Director of Monarch Airlines, commented:

“After successfully launching our new scheduled flights to ski destinations last winter 12/13, we are keen to highlight our products and services to ski and snowboard travellers who are beginning to think about their winter holiday for this year. Working with a key ski destination airport such as Friedrichshafen provides our great ski offering to customers.”

Located in Southern Germany, Friedrichshafen, is a skiing gateway to 4 countries from 1 airport. Friedrichshafen Airport is only a 90 minute transfer by coach, car or train to internationally recognised, quality ski resorts throughout Switzerland, Austria, Leichtenstein and Germany including St Anton, Lech, Zürs, and Flims-Laax.

Monarch Airlines’ new regular ski routes from London Gatwick and Manchester will fly direct into Friedrichshafen Airport, in Southern Germany. From December 2013 through to April 2014, Monarch airlines will operate six weekly direct flights from London Gatwick and Manchester Airport to Friedrichshafen.

With convenient flight times, just an hour and a half flight from London and two hours from Manchester, means that same day fly and ski is possible for those flying into the Airport and transferring on to one of the nearby sky resorts.

More than one million people in the UK take a ski holiday every year. Friedrichshafen Airport hopes to benefit from this traffic thanks to Monarch’s ski routes. The airport prides itself on its 30 year record of landing in any weather without delays and its proximity to more than 50 ski resorts across the Alps. Last year alone, over 50,000 ski visitors used Friedrichshafen as their gateway to the Alps.

FDH airport has a handy UK online platform at http://www.fdh-airport.com/uk for accessible information on the Monarch Airlines’ flight schedules into FDH. Monarch operates flights to all seven ski destinations from Manchester and Gatwick Airport and selected ski destination from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford and London Luton Airport, 160 ski resorts are within easy access of these airports, giving UK holiday makers a stress free route to resorts in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Leichtenstein.

Meribel La Coeur de les trois Vallees….a skiers dream

Invited to ski by an instructor friend for a final weekend before the end of the season, in Meribel in Les trois Vallees, how could I resist… flight booked, transfer booked, bags packed.

Despite a slightly shaky start thanks to fog in London, I eventually rocked up in Meribel 24 hours later after being transferred from City Airport to Heathrow via Frankfurt to Geneva.. oh the joys of travel. I arrive into resort to beautiful blue sunny skies and head straight for the slopes, there is still plenty of snow and the pistes are extremely well kept.

This season has seen some of the best snow in recent years in Europe and the ski industry is booming at a time when perhaps economically it could be seeing more  challenging times. Skiers and snowboarders are however, thankfully choosing to take a winter snow sports holiday in there droves and tour operators such as Tui has taken the decision to extend the season by an extra week.

Méribel is a ski resort in the  Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps, situated near the town of Moutiers. Meribel has three neighbouring villages in the Les Allues commune: Meribel Centre, Meribel-Mottaret and Meribel Village which is in the heart of the 3 Valleys and interlinked to the largest ski area in the world. Situated at 1,400 km above sea level it was originally founded by a Scotsman Colonel Peter Lindsay in 1936 who was looking for a new winter sports area away from Austria and Germany as the Nazi regime began to grow.  Lindsay used specialised architects Paul Grillo and his partner Christian Durupt, as he wanted to maintain the Savoyard style and control the building development of the resort through his property company.

With so much alpine terrain to choose from it’s hard to decide where to go first, but my guide takes the lead and we head for some easy blue and red runs in La Sauliere. The slopes are fantastic and easy for beginners to navigate as well as intermediates. I even ventured down some mogul fields quite well given it was a while since I’d attempted them.

Meribel by J.M Gouedard.

The 3 Valley’s has some of the best terrain in the Alps, from skiing down through the alpine trees into La Tania and across the mountains to Courchevel it’s beautifully breathtaking. As we ski down towards Courchevel we see the Courchevel airport which was featured in the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”, it’s the world’s 7th most dangerous airport due to the short runway only 525 m (1,722 ft) with a gradient of 18.5% and nosedive cliff tops. I can see why it’s dangerous! note to self not to use it, an unlikely possibility as it’s namely Oligarch’s arriving on their Private Lear Jets.

After a morning’s skiing and trying to keep up with L’Instructor and not look too silly (falls x 2, don’t think he noticed) we stopped for lunch. Dining on the slopes is always such a luxury, and “Le Blanchot”  did not fail to impress with its stunning mountain views and gastronomic menu choice. We opted for the more traditional French Savoie dishes of  “Chaud fromage en boite” with potatoes, delicious french bread and salad and a traditional “Savoie rosti”. There is also a skiers ‘ dish of the day’ and a two course ‘skiers menu’ a good way to enjoy “Le Blanchot” without blowing the budget. The service is very good and a great spot for people watching or catching a few rays.

Back in the village and Meribel is thriving, there were lots of people buzzing about, French and Brits out in force together and enjoying their afternoon. There are lots of bars and restaurants to choose from in the village, apres ski is big business here. We go for Barometer bar which is slightly more relaxed and just off the piste, the atmosphere is fun and everybody seems to be in a good mood.

For dinner we opted for “La Fromagerie”, a cheese shop by day and basement restaurant by night. It was absolutely charming in that very Gallic way, the half wheel of raclette was everything I had been dreaming of with lots of yummy cheese drizzled over gherkins and potatoes.. just goregous. My Seasonnaire was at pains to tell me that whatever I wore to dinner I would need to wash immediately afterwards from the overpowering smell of cheese. It was bad but not as bad as a ‘ Munster Cheese’ smell we had to endure on one car trip back from France, courtesy of my Father.

After a brief but amazing weekend in Meribel I can see why everybody has the ski bug it is just so much fun. I’m certainly planning my next trip out there for 2013/14 season.

Flight from : London City Airport – Geneva 1hr45 with Swiss Air/ British Airways/ Lufthansa

Transfer from: Geneva to Meribel – 3hr (threevalleetransfers – http://www.3vt.co.uk/)

British Ski & Snowboard School – http://www.skinewgen.com/resorts/meribel/